Caffeine and L-Theanine: What Does It Do?

Caffeine and L-Theanine: What Does It Do?

What's the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? If you're like most people, it involves some form of caffeinated beverage. Usually, that's tea or coffee – or, if you're especially tired, an energy drink. Caffeine helps boost our attention, get our brains firing, and just generally banish the post-sleep slump. 

Pairing caffeine with L-theanine, however, takes this effect to the next level. These two compounds work together synergistically to enhance your focus and mental clarity, while the L-theanine eliminates some of the caffeine jitters and anxiety.

So, caffeine and L-theanine: what does it do to your body? Should you include this dynamic duo in your morning routine? And are there any risks associated with L-theanine? Let's find out.

In this guide:

  • What is L-Theanine?
  • What is Caffeine?
  • Caffeine and L-Theanine: What Does It Do?
  • L-Theanine Risks and Side Effects

What is L-Theanine?

L-theanine is an amino acid. It's found in tea leaves – mainly green tea and loose-leaf tea – and is associated with pro-sleep and anti-anxiety effects.

Usually, amino acids are used as the building blocks of protein, constructing almost every part of our body. However, L-theanine is different. Unlike most amino acids, L-theanine is not used to build proteins but instead directly influences brain function.

L-theanine is particularly notable for its ability to increase levels of GABA, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain. These neurotransmitters are involved in mood regulation, relaxation, and cognitive function. By influencing these neurotransmitters, L-theanine can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve focus and cognitive performance.

Benefits of L-Theanine

You couldn't think, learn, or live without L-theanine – it's foundational to everyday life. From your immune system to your brain power, L-theanine is a crucial ingredient. Here's a snapshot of its beneficial effects:

  1. Relaxation without Drowsiness: L-theanine is celebrated for inducing relaxation without leading to sleepiness, making it an ideal component in tea for soothing the mind.
  2. Anxiety and Stress Relief: Research, including a review of five trials, has shown that L-theanine can significantly reduce anxiety and stress, especially in stressful situations.
  3. Benefits for Mental Health Disorders: A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that L-theanine can decrease anxiety and improve symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
  4. Immune System Boost: L-theanine may bolster the immune system, with studies suggesting it can reduce the occurrence of upper respiratory infections and, in combination with green tea catechins, possibly prevent the flu.
  5. Inflammation Reduction: Emerging research indicates L-theanine's potential in reducing inflammation in the intestinal tract, though further studies are needed.

In addition, there's tentative research demonstrating a link between regularly drinking tea and lower rates of cancer. In one study, women who drank green tea were 32% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer. Meanwhile, other studies have noted the effect of L-theanine on sleep. After 6 weeks, 49 boys with ADHD aged 8 to 12 years old taking L-theanine twice daily reported longer, more restful sleep compared to a placebo.

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant commonly found in coffee, tea, cacao plants, and kola nuts. Probably one of the most used drugs worldwide, caffeine stimulates the brain and central nervous system, preventing the onset of tiredness.

Here's how it works: Caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that relaxes the brain and makes you feel tired. Normally, adenosine levels build up over the day, making you increasingly tired and less alert. 

Caffeine binds to adenosine receptors without activating them, reducing tiredness. It also increases brain activity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, which enhances concentration and alertness.

Caffeine and L-Theanine: What Does It Do?

Paired with caffeine, L-theanine suddenly becomes a highly nootropic compound, boosting focus and attention. While the beneficial effects on attention and concentration already exist with either compound, together, the two substances seem to potentiate the effect of the other. 

In a 2010 study, 44 young adults were given a combination of 97 mg L-theanine and 40 mg caffeine or a placebo and levels of cognitive performance, alertness, blood pressure, and heart rate were monitored. 

The combination treatment significantly enhanced accuracy during task switching and self-reported alertness. Considering that the average cup of coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine, the results are easy to replicate.

Another study found that L-theanine improved verbal fluency and executive function after 4 weeks of 200 mg daily. Such effects appear to increase when caffeine is added. As a 2016 analysis concluded, "Theanine and caffeine seem to have additive effects on attention in high doses."

Indeed, perhaps the best effect is the soothing properties of L-theanine negate the jitters and anxiety associated with high doses of caffeine. This results in sustained and focused energy. 

L-Theanine Risks and Side Effects

L-theanine is generally considered highly safe and effective. It's safe to drink teas and supplements containing L-theanine – and the addition of caffeine appears to have no change in effect. However, individuals may want to be careful about using L-theanine to negate some of caffeine's effects. 

Consuming too much caffeine can cause a spike in blood pressure and, in the most severe cases, lead to a heart attack. So, limit your consumption to no more than 3-4 cups of coffee per day. 

Furthermore, drinking large quantities of green tea can lead to nausea, upset stomach, and irritability.

Add a Dose of L-Theanine to Your Daily Beverage with Tonicc 

Forget the hassle of capsules and powders. Tonicc offers a seamless way to infuse your daily coffee or tea with the brain-boosting power of L-theanine, combined with the vitality of Rhodiola and essential B vitamins. Just a simple pump of Tonicc into your beverage not only enhances mental clarity and focus but also supports your overall well-being.

Whether you're preparing for a demanding day at work or needing to stay sharp for your studies, Tonicc provides the perfect balance of energy and calm. Adjust the dose to match your day's demands and discover a smarter, more focused you. Experience the difference with Tonicc—try it today and transform your morning beverage into a catalyst for supported focus and cognition!"